AP Exclusive: Schools boss give up right after porn observed on computer

Pamela G. Knowles

A longtime educator whose vocation included significant-profile careers on the Navajo Nation resigned from his most up-to-date submit as an Arizona county universities superintendent following officers discovered pornographic illustrations or photos on his do the job-issued laptop or computer

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — A longtime educator whose occupation integrated significant-profile positions on the Navajo Nation resigned from his latest submit as an Arizona county schools superintendent just after officers found out pornographic visuals on his operate-issued personal computer, according to records acquired by The Related Push.

Coconino County announced the resignation of Tommy Lewis Jr., 67, as its superintendent of schools in late January with a two-sentence assertion that cited personal reasons. A county spokesman later on verified Lewis was beneath investigation for opportunity legal action in response to queries from the AP.

Although the photographs located on Lewis’ personal computer violated county coverage, the investigation in Arizona ended with no expenses. The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, which took the case after Coconino cited a conflict of fascination, explained none of the substance involved the exploitation of youngsters.

Nonetheless, detectives identified just one of the photographs was taken up the skirt of a woman in New Mexico, and referred that scenario to the police section in Albuquerque, in accordance to the sheriff’s office environment. They discovered the photograph on a flash generate Lewis left in his personal computer.

An Albuquerque law enforcement spokesman did not immediately know the status of the scenario.

Lewis has not responded to various messages from the AP remaining on his cellphone and through email requesting comment, such as on Tuesday. Community information showed he apologized for violating county coverage but mentioned he is not a criminal.

“I am pretty sorry and shameful,” he wrote Jan. 21 in an electronic mail to the Coconino County Board of Supervisors and the then-county supervisor. “Thank you for providing me an prospect to do the job with you. I wish you the most effective.”

A week later, Lewis texted the county’s human means supervisor, inquiring for the flash push and declaring he didn’t realize which agency was investigating him or why.

“I did not commit any criminal offense,” he wrote.

Lewis was tapped as the county superintendent of faculties in November 2019 immediately after the former superintendent left for an additional position. Lewis was elected to a 4 yr-time period this earlier slide, which meant he could not be fired for violating county coverage.

According to general public data, a random inner stability scan done by the Coconino County Info Know-how Office flagged opportunity unlawful action on Lewis’ computer system. The records clearly show makes an attempt to access explicit or pornographic web-sites extra than 100 situations above quite a few weeks soon after Lewis was elected. The attempts have been blocked by county software program.

Nevertheless, the county also discovered pornographic illustrations or photos, which include visuals of possibly underage girls, in documents and downloads on Lewis’ personal computer.

Division director Matt Fowler termed the written content “questionable” and maybe illegal, and notified other county officials and law enforcement.

“We have ruled out that it is by no accident that the web pages were being accessed,” county spokesman Eric Peterson stated, referring to the unsuccessful makes an attempt to view pornographic web sites. “It wasn’t a virus or malware they were intentionally accessed.”

Lewis submitted his handwritten resignation on Jan. 20 at the ask for of Coconino County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Ryan, who advised Lewis about what was uncovered on his personal computer and that legislation enforcement was concerned. Lewis responded by stating he was guilty of violating the county’s policy and was sorry, saddened and humiliated, in accordance to minutes of the meeting.

The board later on appointed Cheryl Mango-Paget as Lewis’ alternative. She will provide as a result of 2022.

Lewis, a longtime Flagstaff resident, is properly-acknowledged in Native American schooling circles. He served as the president of Diné College on the Navajo Country from 1992 to 2000 and performed a important part in switching the name from Navajo Community College and securing funding. He also has been a principal and a trainer, according to his resume.

He was the to start with superintendent of the Navajo Division of Diné Schooling in 2006 but was pushed out after a 12 months in a management tangle. Lewis claimed he was unjustly fired from his position and afterwards reached a settlement with the tribe. Lewis returned to the situation in 2015 and held it until finally he took the Coconino County task.

Lewis also had served as president of Northwest Indian Faculty in Washington point out and superintendent of Greyhills Academy Higher University on the Navajo Country. He received bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels from Northern Arizona College.

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